The criticism of the Raiders offensive coordinator has ramped up this week after they failed to take out the one-win Chargers while scoring just 16 points. The Chargers have the worst run defense in the league. Marshawn Lynch was averaging 6.1 yards per carry at the half and he got the ball just 5 times in the second half.
In addition, they used play action just ONE TIME the entire game. Downing used the lack of establishing the run as an excuse, but based on the above stats from Lynch, that excuse doesn’t fly. It never really did.
One of those times the Raiders should have either run Marshawn Lynch or used the play action was the first play of the 4th quarter. Up 10-7, they went for it on 4th and 2 at the 41-yard-line. And for no logical reason, they lined up 4-wide with an empty backfield. Carr threw off target to Crabtree and the Raiders turned it over on downs. The Chargers took the short field and drove for their second touchdown to take a 14-10 lead midway through the 4th quarter.
For more on Downing’s performance in this game as well as the rest of the season, here are some full stories:
What an absolutely brutal game for the second-year safety. The Chargers offense couldn’t get anything going in the first quarter. With the Raiders’ offense sputtering, Philip Rivers would eventually take advantage of his opportunities. Early in the second quarter, he led the Chargers on a drive. His first long pass went for 28 yards right in front of Joseph in the zone. Later in that drive, Joseph got worked by Antonio Gates to give up a 16-yard catch that put the Chargers in scoring range. They would eventually get their first touchdown.
Those two plays were the longest on the Chargers’ first scoring drive. Joseph gave up the longest play on Chargers next scoring drive as well on a 15-yard pass that again set the Chargers up in scoring position at the 20-yard-line. They would score their second touchdown to take a 14-10 lead early in the 4th quarter.
The Raiders would come back to score another TD. With the missed extra point, they took a 16-14 lead. The Chargers had one last chance with just over four minutes on the clock at their own 8-yard-line. The first play, Joseph gave up a 34-yard catch to tight end Hunter Henry. Two plays later he gave up a 23-yard catch that put the Chargers at the 33-yard-line in range of the game-winning field. But to ensure the victory they would need to get a little closer and take more time off the clock.
Two plays later, Joseph would get run over to give up a 4-yard first down run that put the Chargers at the 23-yard-line with a fresh set of downs to bleed the clock. Eventually they would run it down to :03 seconds and seal it with a 32-yard field goal.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Raiders went up 16-14. Just an extra point was needed to make it a three-point game. Condo’s snap sailed high. Marquette King had to stand up to catch it and did his best to get it down, and Giorgio Tavecchio would get a foot on it, but it missed wide left. That high snap turned a potential game-tying field goal into a game-winning field goal and thus the Chargers were able to win it 17-16.
For the second week in a row, the offense turned the ball over in the first three plays. This time it was Carr overthrowing Michael Crabtree on a comeback route and having it intercepted. Luckily Chargers kicker Nick Novak would miss the field goal so there wasn’t much damage done. Carr and Crabtree would make up for it with a 23-yard TD connection on the ensuing drive.
The next time the Raiders were able to go on a drive was the first series of the second half. A series of runs, short passes, and dump-offs would move the Raiders to the LA 15-yard-line. Then Carr would lead Marshawn Lynch too much on an easy shallow cross, Lynch reached out to get one hand on it, tipped it and it was intercepted and the Raiders would get no points out of the drive.
Still sitting at 10 points in the fourth quarter, the Chargers would add another touchdown to take a 14-10 lead. On the ensuring drive, in third and 4, the Chargers would jump offsides, giving Carr a free play to take a shot. He wasted the free play by throwing it out of bounds. So much for those Aaron Rodgers comparisons.
The drive did yield a touchdown, however, with Cordarrelle Patterson’s 47-yard run off the end around. With a 2-point lead, the defense got the offense the ball back with just over six minutes remaining. All they had to do was run some clock and perhaps drive for a field goal. They did neither. An illegal formation by Crabtree negated a 19-yard Amari Cooper catch. Two plays later, Carr threw wide and incomplete for Jared Cook. And on third and 12, the hook and ladder attempt was stopped two yards short, leading to a punt.
You know the rest of the story. Carr would finish going 21 of 30 for 171 yards with 1 TD, 2 INT, and a fumble and a passer rating of 67.5. He also didn’t complete a single pass that traveled more than 20 yards through the air. He’s completed just 3 such passes this season.
Ken Norton Jr, Jack Del Rio
Three scoring drives. That’s what the Chargers had. Each time the defense seemed clueless when it came to covering the running back or the tight end. Their first scoring drive, they gave up first downs on three third and longs. The Chargers picked up 28 yards on third and 7, 8 yards on 3rd and 8, 12 yards on third and 9 to put them in first and goal at the 10-yard-line, 5 yards on third and goal at the 6-yard-line, and then gave up the touchdown on 4th and goal at the one. That drive went 82 yards.
The next scoring drive they gave up 15 yards on third and 6, and 6 yards on third and 5 to put them in first and goal at the 6-yard-line. They scored the touchdown two plays later.
The final drive, the Chargers started at their own 8-yard-line with just over four minutes remaining. All the Raiders needed to stop them short of field goal range. Or perhaps holding them to a long field goal attempt while leaving some time on the clock to respond. They did neither. The Chargers were in field goal range in three plays. At that point, they just needed to keep them from getting another first down so there would be time left on the clock to give the offense a chance to answer. They gave up two more first downs, including the final first down on third and 3. They got there so quickly, Philip Rivers had to kneel out the clock twice before Novak came out to end it with a 32-yard field goal.
Just like these Raiders to find a way to lose to a Chargers team that prior to Sunday had beaten only another winless team. This game was crucial for the Raiders to return to .500 and have a chance at salvaging this season. Instead they dropped to dead last in the division with the division leading Chiefs coming to town on a short week.